Christian responses to US Politics

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Tiffy, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    Perhaps you are ignoring the fact that 300 years of US history may have influenced attitudes and mindsets in large numbers of people in the US demographic. As far as I can see there has never been a time in the US when 'whites' were ever enslaved by 'blacks' but the majority of that 300 years saw enslavement of 'blacks' by 'whites'.

    Deep seated attitudes will have been seeded in the subconscious of both 'white' and 'black' citizens by this 'tribal memory'.

    'Blacks' will bring their children up to be cautious of 'white' prejudice. 'Whites' will have been brought up with at least some of the expectations of entitlement and assumptions of racially inherited superior intellect still lurking subconsciously in the 'white' community. Both 'communities' will have deep seated tendencies to seek support and identity from what they may see as 'their own kind'.

    Christianity and some other religions, (where they are socially unadulterated by race prejuduce), is an antidote to hatred and a positive, healing balm for the ills and divisions of society. Unfortunately, (where it is a means of perpetuating division, as it may have become in some segregationist congregations), it tends to militate against healing of the social wounds enflicted by 300 years of division, segregation and injustice suffered by the 'black' communities. (Let us not forget though that this is not just about enforced poverty and lack of opportunity. That is often suffered equally by both 'black' and 'white' alike). Historically, in the USA though, it is far more likely that those evils will be, and definitely true that they have been, suffered by more 'blacks' than by 'whites'.

    Very few people, 'black' or 'white' are aware of the deep seated and unconscious motivating emotions within their hearts. (For hearts we could equally use the word psyche or subconscious). For most people it is not a deliberate, conscious, racist attitude which determines their behaviour toward 'the other', it is the 'leftovers' of social preconceptions of previous generations, who have unconsciously bequeathed their fears and insecurities and hatreds or arrogant feelings of superiority to their descendents.

    The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Ex.34:6-7.

    Notice that this does not say the punishment is visited upon them. It is the actual sins which are visited. Meaning that sinful attitudes are passed from one generation to another in anyone who does not love God. i.e (anyone who has disregard for God's ways and attitudes but prefers to just selfishly and unlawfully, do as they please).

    There are many people who think that they are saved, who yet still have little regard for God's ways, and still reject God's authority to regulate their actions and attitudes toward others who are different in race, colour or religion. Such guilty servants will by no means be cleared and their attitudes may be passed on to their children and great grandchildren, unless God graceously breaks through into their lives and releases them from their conscious and subconscious prejudices.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    To your comment, Tiffy, I offer a minor quibble as to the length of time involved. You wrote, "the majority of that 300 years saw enslavement..." Our nation was founded in 1776 (although it began as a loose confederation of states with a too-weak federal government... the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation about 11 years later). Slavery was abolished at the time of the Civil War. If we generously count from the end of the Civil War (1865) to 1776, that's 89 years at most of legal slavery. From 1865 to 2020 is 155 years, so the vast majority of years the US has existed were years during which the blacks were free. But until the beginning of Affirmative Action in 1961 and the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 the nation, particularly the heavily Democrat 'Deep South,' still treated African-Americans as 2nd class citizens; 1865 to 1964 is 99 years. So finally for the past 50-some years they have by law received certain preferential treatments. Since many children born in '65 have teen or adult grandchildren today, we see that our society is about two generations removed from the time of systemic discrimination.

    Just as there will always be some who do not accept Christ, there will always be some who (as you point out) harbor suspicion toward people who look or act differently. If we can agree that racial prejudice has its roots in hatred, which is a characteristic of ungodliness, we can postulate that prejudice will never be wiped out so long as any persons turn their backs on God. No amount of demonstrating, posturing, or virtue-signaling will change that. The very best remedy against racism is evangelism; the more people who are true Christians, the less people who will entertain the hatred of bigotry, for they will come to know the equally abundant love of Christ for all men and women.
     
    Tiffy likes this.
  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    I wholeheartedly agree with you on this.

    However, slavery dates in North America from 1619. I was counting from when slavery was first introduced, not from Nationhood.
    .
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Okay, but that's a part of English history, not US history. The United States of America didn't exist as an entity until 1787. England's monarchy ruled the colonies until 1776.

    I suspect we could probably agree that your monarch George didn't rule the colonies well enough. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    He was a fruit cake. He lost the Americas by being a total nutter, I think. Actually the colonists were pretty much 'in charge' by default, long before Mr Revere did his thing. :laugh: Let's let by-gones be by-gones, we both have bigger problems to cope with at the moment without getting upset over an ethroned and crowned total nutter on the one hand and a bunch of Tea total-nutters in Boston Harbour on the other. :clap:
     
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    1,416
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    Nutters and America! Nothing springs to mind!
     
  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    I think perhaps we shouldn't go there. :laugh: I'll leave it for others to decide whether that is a literal statement or metaphorical colloqialism.
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Who are the real nutters around here? Who, indeed?

    It really did bother me to think that Trump would be so stupid as to order a crowd to be moved simply so he could have a photo op. He'd have to know that such an action would allow the media to eat him alive, right?

    As I've looked into it further, I've uncovered some interesting facts. Note, first of all, that all of us in the USA have heard the MSM nightly news broadcasts repeatedly proclaim, night after night, that the crowd was completely peaceful. But the newscasters have been lying to us all.

    https://www.nps.gov/subjects/uspp/6_2_20_statement_from_acting_chief_monahan.htm
    Park police state that the crowd was growing increasingly unruly:
    At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.

    To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. USPP officers and other assisting law enforcement partners did not use tear gas or OC Skat Shells to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.

    Throughout the demonstrations, the USPP has not made any arrests. The USPP will always support peaceful assembly but cannot tolerate violence to citizens or officers or damage to our nation’s resources that we are entrusted to protect.​

    MSM newspeople had to be aware of these facts by Tuesday 6/2, when this statement was issued, but they continued (and still continue) to paint the protesters as victims and Trump as the aggressor, even though Trump never ordered the actions taken against the mob.

    According to an Associated Press article, Trump never told anyone he wanted to go over to the Episcopal church which had been damaged the night before by a mob of "protesters." But when he noticed that the way was clear, he saw that he could walk over to the church in safety (is there something wrong with that?), and so they did.

    Who are the liars? The 'talking heads' of the news broadcasts.
    Who are the nutters? Perhaps, those who swallow the bait, hook, line, and sinker, but won't spit it out even after they hear they've been chummed? I have a relative or two like that.... they're so fanatical against Trump, they won't believe the truth if it bites them in the @$$. O_o Sorta like this.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn3ObP3f2LU

    The ACLU definitely falls into the "nutter" category. They are suing Trump and Barr for "civil rights violations" against the "totally peaceful demonstrators." Folks, I don't know if the world could get more nutty.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    1,416
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I was pleased to see over the weekend and de-escalation of the agro, and what appeared to be a greater celebration of our common humanity.

    As a matter of correcting an earlier post, in relation to deaths in custody there is one policeman who has been charged with murder, from Novemberm that that matter is listed to be heard some time in July, unless further extension os required for the brief of evidence to be assembled which has apparently been delayed due to Covid 19. We have been especially cautious to protect First Nations people in this time, as they were quickly established to be a high risk group, and we seem to have been successful in minimising the direct disease impact on Aboriginal communities, though the economic impact affects us all, the poor most harshly.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    https://www.theepochtimes.com/some-activists-call-for-toppling-of-jesus-statues-amid-unrest_3400160.html?ref=brief_News&__sta=vhg.uosvpxqlzouqzU%7CHYJ&__stm_medium=email&__stm_source=smartech Quoted below:

    After Weeks of Violent Protests, Some Now Call for Toppling of Jesus Statues
    As statues of historical American figures, including those of former presidents, are being forcibly torn down across the nation, Black Lives Matter activists are now beginning to target Christianity.

    Historical churches are being defaced as some call for statues of Jesus to be torn down.

    “Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy,” wrote political activist Shaun King, who is an open supporter of Black Lives Matter.

    “In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went? EGYPT! Not Denmark,” King continued in a June 22 Twitter post. “Tear them down.”

    In Washington, vandals defaced the historical St. John’s Episcopal Church located just one block away from the White House. The letters “BHAZ” (Black House Autonomous Zone) were scrawled on the pillars in front of the church. The zone has since been dismantled by police.

    Meanwhile, some have publicly supported the comments made by King.


    “#ShaunKing is right about #WhiteJesus and #WhiteSupremacy,” wrote economist and activist Boyce Watkins. “If #Jesus had been presented in his truest form, ya’ll would have hanged him from a tree.”

    Tory Russell, mission director for The International Black Freedom Alliance, wrote in a Twitter post, “shaunking trying to do more decolonizing of the US than your movement favorites.”

    In a follow up Twitter post, King called for all other depictions of a white Jesus to be torn down, labeling them as “racist propaganda.”

    “All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down,” he said. “They are a gross form white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down.”

    The targeting of Jesus has come on the heels of the targeting of statues of former U.S. presidents, which followed on from attacks on statues of Confederate generals sparked after protests across the country broke out in wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody. Attorney General William Barr recently said that the Department of Justice has evidence that anarcho-communist group Antifa and other similar groups have “hijacked” the initially peaceful protests.

    The administration is increasing its efforts to crack down against vandals. On June 23, Trump announced that he has permitted the federal government to arrest anyone who defaces or tears down any monument “effective immediately.”

    “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act,” he said on Twitter.

    “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused,” Trump continued. “There will be no exceptions!”

    Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) likened the wave of statue toppling to a “cultural revolution.”

    “This far-left anger is sparing some heroes of their own,” he said on June 23. “I understand that in Seattle, a large statue of Vladimir Lenin stands quite untouched.”

    Historical Figures
    Protesters in California toppled a statue of Junipero Serra, a Roman Catholic Spanish priest widely regarded as a founder of the religious California Missions. In response, the Spanish Embassy in Washington issued a series of Twitter posts stating they “deeply regret the destruction of the statue … and would like to offer a reminder of his great efforts in support of indigenous communities.”

    Statues of various historical figures have been torn down across multiple states. In one incident in California, a group of vandals dressed in black cheered as they used a cord to pull down a statue of of Francis Scott Key, who penned the national anthem.

    Amid the unrest, statues of America’s Founding Fathers also became a target as monuments of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were torn down. One of the latest targets is a statue of the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, located at an entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

    While the Roosevelt statue hasn’t been physically toppled by vandals, Ellen Futter, the museum’s president, has asked New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to remove the statue. The mayor accepted the request on June 21.

    Futter said in a letter that the statue has been controversial due to its “hierarchical composition that places one figure on horseback and the others walking alongside, and many of us find its depictions of the Native American and African figures and their placement in the monument racist.”

    The city’s government didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times on the timeline of the statue’s removal.

    Communism expert and author Trevor Loudon called the statue defacing happening across the nation a “Maoist tactic of erasing the form of culture.”

    “Maoism is about building a new man, a new society,” Loudon told The Epoch Times previously. “You have to destroy all remnants of the old society. You have to destroy memorials and the former culture so you can build a new society.”

    According to Loudon, Marxist organizations such as Liberation Road and the Workers World Party have both been involved in the recent escalations.

    “They are following the line of the Chinese Cultural Revolution,” said Loudon, who is also a contributor to The Epoch Times. “The Cultural Revolution wiped out the previous Chinese culture; they toppled statues and desecrated monuments.”

    Yang Jianli, a Chinese dissident and son of a former Communist Party leader who now heads the Citizen Power Initiatives for China, a pro-democracy NGO in the United States, also said the statue toppling was reminiscent of China’s cultural revolution.

    “The behavior on the part of the protestors did remind me a lot of the cultural revolution,” Yang told The Epoch Times.

    “[It’s] familiar in violence, anti rule-of-law and political madness,” he said. “The BLM protestors have crossed the line when they break or tear down the statues of America’s Founding Fathers such as Washington and Jefferson.”​
     
  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    1,416
    Country:
    Australia
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I can't, and don't, speak with any authority in relation to the situation in the USA.

    What I do know however is that the resolution choices are:
    1. suppression, dominance and annihilation
    2. absolute capitulation and walk away
    3. reconciliation, whereby those in authority determine to listen and ensure that those who feel aggrieved are heard, and finding a way to move forward, where all are enfranchised and feel part of the solution.
    The problem can be that those who want 1 see 3 as really being 2, and those who want 2 see 3 as really being 1.

    Now, most of us know that Jesus wasn't that white. When I was in PNG the Christus Rex above the Altar in the chapel showed a very Red Indian Jesus complete with a feathered headdress. The initial impact is that it was odd. I suspect where I am today I would have been commissioning local Carvers and Tapa Cloth makers to produce and much more Papuan Jesus.

    The reading I have done suggests that the Spanish Embassy may be glossing over a few points of the narrative, and whilst I am not a fan of judging history by today's standards, I do think we need to own a little more of the truth.

    The Church today needs to find it's prophetic charter anew, it needs to call leadership to account for its failings, and it needs to ensure that the poor, the marginalised and the disenfranchised will find in the Church, listening, acceptance, and empowerment, to ensure that all have liberty, and fraternity.

    There have been other lines crossed, like failing to allow a suspect to breath.
     
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Please keep in mind that I did not say those things, because I was quoting the news article in its entirety (note the words, "Quoted below," and the indent). The "Rexlion said" is out of place in the preceding post.

    Since most of the statues are placed by the people through their governing body, and since the statues of Jesus are generally placed by religious groups, they are not the property of a mob to tear down or deface at their pleasure. If the people wanted to have a discussion about it, and work through proper channels so the people responsible for a statue's placement may evaluate the issues and work something out, #3 would be possible. But these lawbreaking thugs have chosen to act in accordance with #1 in the hope that the rest of us will do #2. I don't care how outraged or self-righteous they are, those feelings can not justify illegal destruction of other people's property.

    Christianity does not encompass a concept that "two wrongs make a right." No wrongs that have or may have occurred to certain people can justify the performance of reactive wrongs by vigilantes in the name of "justice."
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE

    At the risk of derailing this thread, (I really don't want to do that because it is a very important issue and goes to the very depths of the meaning and expression of our Christian faith), I would like to alert readers here to what is really going on in every nation on earth during this stressful eschatological epoch.

    Traditional understandings of demonic activity, with their simplistic tendency to psychiatrically project upon others our own inner fears and hostilities have to be unmasked if the church is to become salt again in the world's hour of need.

    I have been re-reading "Unmasking the Powers" by Walter Wink, (Professor of Biblical Theology at Auburn Theological seminary New York). Here are my thoughts on what he has written concerning the Gospel account of the Gadarene Demoniac, which I think well illustrates what we are dealing with in the manifestations of mass irrationality and bizarre expressions of extremism we are witnessing currently bubbling to the surface of every society on the planet.

    The account of the Gadarene Demoniac found in the synoptic gospels provides valuable insights into the human psychotic behaviour which brings these manifestations into undeniable existence.

    In approaching this task I think it is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint so sit back and be prepared for a long read. In the interests of comprehensiveness I have tried to include all of each gospel writer's information in the one composite account. Matthew in Blue text, Mark in Green text and Luke in Orange text. Much of the details in the narrative is duplicated in two or more of the gospel accounts. John does not provide us with any information at all on this particular incident other than that Jesus undertook a journey by boat to the region.

    When he came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes (or Gerasenes, or Gergesenes or Gergustenes), which is opposite Galilee, two demoniacs with an unclean spirit, coming out of the tombs met him when he had stepped out of the boat on land.

    It matters not particularly that Matthew reports two demoniacs but Mark and Luke only mention one, apart from the fact that making it two, might hint at how this manifestation phenomenon, (in that particular region), may not have been such a unique and complete rarity.

    They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones.

    When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice,

    “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— or ("Have you come to torment us before the time"), for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. or They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

    Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; at some distance from them. and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs.

    Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood.

    all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away,
    and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

    When I state that there are certain mythic themes in this apparently simple story which can mine veins of deep esoteric knowledge about the psychopathology of the human race, some will look askance and dismiss the claim as coming from someone who 'does not properly believe the bible' in the requisite literal and simplistic, matter of fact, way. Be that as it may.


    [QUOTE: mostly from Walter Winks book "Unmasking the Powers", ISBN 0-8006-1902-1 though not verbatim]

    The Decapolis, a land of ten proud Greek cities, that Jesus has just set foot in as he disembarked, was founded or enlarged by Alexander the Great and his successors and settled with Macedonian veterans. In this conquered Jewish land the Greeks set about making it as paganly Greek as possible. Greek culture abounded. Gerasa had a temple to Zeus Olympus, to whom pigs were sacrificed - who knows, perhaps the 2000 pigs mentioned were destined for this purpose. There was also from 22-23CE a temple dedicated to the cult of Caesar. Each city was fiercely independent and had been awarded rights to such. There was considerable hatred between Jews and the population of the Decapolis. Jewish ruler Alexander Jannaeus (d. 76BCE) subjected or destroyed at least half of the ten cities, (Gerasa, Gadara, Hippos, Scythopolis, Pella). Then in 63BCE Pompey brought them all under Roman control, restored some privileges and placed them under the oversight of the Syrian Legate. Augustus awarded Gadara, Hippos and Scythopolis to Herod; when the Gadarenes failed in the petition against Herod's cruelty they suffered even more cruelly still. At the beginning of the Jewish war, Jewish rebels sacked most of the 10 cities. Gerasa, unfortunately was sacked by both Romans and Jews, a double whammy. The population generally hated both Roman and Jewish interlopers and remained belligerently 'Greek' to all outsiders.

    The ten cities fiercely jealous of their right to mint their own coin and levy their own taxes had watched their freedom whittled away, first by the Ptolemies, then by the Seleucids, then by the Jews, then by Herod. Their attitude towards Rome was ambivalent in the extreme. Pompey had delivered them from the yoke of the Jews, and Augustus, on Herod's death, had released them from the rule of Herod's sons, yet they were still subject to Roman control, taxes, (tribute) and conscription to the Roman legions.

    Gerasa is a case in point. Why, before besieging Jerusalem, did Vespasian dispatch Lucius Annius against Gerasa, unless it was considered hostile? Why were the gates closed against Annius, so that he had to carry the city by assault? Why did he "put to the sword a thousand of the youth" and sack and burn Gerasa and/or its surrounding villages - unless old longings for independence and autonomy had reached a new pitch, fired by the example of near neighbours revolting against Rome? Apparently some of the Gerasenes misread the Jewish revolt as an indication of declining Roman power in the area, and gambled on Jewish success to secure their own much-desired freedom once more. The Romans at least saw the situation thus; they quartered a legion there during the Jewish War, and kept it there into the third century. And while the city flourished economically, the longings never died. All the dedicatory in scriptions of the period of the Emperor Hadrian's visit (129 -130) have been partially erased, apparently prompted by anger at his renaming the city one more indication of its intense sense of independence.

    This then was the social context of the demoniac. How is he related to it? The first impression is deceptive: not at all, he had been cast out. How then has he stayed alive? For he has not only avoided starvation but is possessed of a strength that is legendary. Someone must be feeding him. Luke depicts his malady as episodic: "For many a time it had seized him" (Luke 8:29). Perhaps he comes and goes from the nearest town. But note this odd feature: "No one could bind him anymore, even with a chain; for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him" (Mark 5:3-4). Rene Girard (Violence and the Sacred - Rene Girard, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press1985), there is something suspicious here. These townspeople are surely not that incompetent; it really is possible to fashion chains too powerful for anyone to break. They must be deliberately keeping him alive, and they chain him in such a way that he can break free. This must have been acted out like a ritual many times before. "The Gerasenes and their demons have for some time settled into some sort of cyclical pathology," Girard writes. In a sense they must have enjoyed and even needed this drama since they beg Jesus to leave immediately and not meddle further in their affairs.

    Girard sees in this narrative evidence for the thesis he has been building through a series of brilliant volumes." Human societies cannot face their own violence, he argues, nor can they permit endless retaliation against those who do express it. Therefore they devise scapegoats who will serve as lightning rods


    to draw away the volatile charge that would otherwise throw society into a paroxysm of internecine strife. The demoniac is a perfect case, argues Girard. The townspeople need him to act out their own violence. He bears their collective madness personally, freeing them from its symptoms. Unlike other accounts where the scapegoat is stoned, he does it for them: he bruises himself with stones. Yet he secretly lives out the freedom to be violent that they crave: he is the most liberated among them, shattering chains, parading naked, free from taxes and tribute and the military service due Rome. Yet he is the more miserable for it, and they insure that he remains so. They chain him and drive him from their midst, to dwell as an outcast among the dead. "The possessed imitates the Gerasenes who stone their victims, but the Gerasenes also imitate their possessed. It is a relationship of doubles and mirrors that exists between persecuted persecutors and this persecuting persecuted individual. The relationship is one of mimetic antagonism." 12 Franz-J. Leenhardt depicts the same reciprocity when he has the demons turn to the reader and say, "We are banished from society but are necessary for its functioning. Some scapegoats are necessary, as fate falls upon the weakest members of the group. But if you deprive these people who exile us of this possibility of projecting their madness upon us, they will all become madmen. We are necessary for their peace. Our impurity reassures them in the conviction of their purity."

    I believe we can consider the scapegoat motif established. But can we specify more precisely what is being laid on this miserable substitute? We can, because he himself tells us. "My name is Legion, for we are many." The Decapolis knew the legions. They were not "mobs" (as the TEV mistranslates it), but one of the most disciplined military formations the world has ever known. "My name is legion": can we not hear a whole region speaking in that voice? Has this man not taken on himself the actual situation of his people? He does what they would like to do: tear apart the chains and shatter the fetters of Roman authority. Here at least was a free man: "No one had the strength to subdue him." But he had also internalized their captivity and the utter futility of resistance: he gashes himself with stones. His great rage turns in only on himself. Here was the perfect scapegoat, a holy fool, an escape valve, a living parable of their seething discontent." Tradition rightly calls him the Gerasene demoniac, for that is precisely his function-to be the demoniac of the Gerasenes. That is why he pleads that his demons not be sent "out of the country." They "belong" there. They are the spirit of the region, and the demoniac is their incarnation.

    He is "occupied," just as they are. Here mental illness becomes metaphor: the Decapolis was possessed by legions! But through the scapegoat, aggression against the Romans has been transferred to the demons. In Gerd Theissen's words, the demons "speak Latin, present themselves as a ' legion,' and like the Romans have only one wish: to be allowed to stay in the country,"!" Mythological language and bizarre pathology act as a screen to mask political unrest that cannot be safely expressed.

    Paul Hollenbach cites evidence that mental illness is caused by, or at least agravated by, class antagonisms resulting in economic exploitation, conflicts between traditions, colonial domination, and revolution. The natives will cope with these conflicts by strengthening their inhibitions against violence. This is achieved by creating a confining zone encircled by maleficent spirits that will attack them if they step out against the oppressor. Mental illness can also in such circumstances become an oblique protest against or escape from oppression and the pathological atmosphere that it creates.'? The demoniac has reacted characteristically, then, by developing an oblique aggressive strategy in which his very madness permitted him to express hostility toward Rome in a politically cryptic manner. "His possession was at once both the result of oppression and an expression of his resistance to it."

    Classically, the scapegoat is driven off the edge of a cliff by the whole community hurling stones. All are thus responsible for his death, and hence none. Those who stoned Stephen set upon him "as one man" [homothumadon], Acts 7:57, Phillips.) And because the scapegoat is someone that everyone agrees must die, and is also too weak to retaliate or too marginal to have powerful alIies, he can be killed without fear of reprisal, and the threat of further violence checked.'?

    That introduces the most curious aspect of our account: the substitutionary death of the pigs. They become the "scapepigs" in place of the man, who is healed. Jesus thus breaks the vicious circle of mimetic persecution. But - and this is astonishing - there is no cliff on that part of the Sea of Galilee. Nor is there a cliff in Nazareth over which the good townspeople might have hurled Jesus (Luke 4:28-30). "Steep bank" (RSV) is too mild. Kremnas means an "overhanging bank, cliff, edge." No doubt the cliff has grown in the imagination of tellers unfamiliar with the topography, but that misses the point: there has to be an "edge." The scapegoat motif absolutely requires it. But in this case the roles are reversed. It is not the scapegoat who is forced over the cliff, but legion (upwards of six thousand made up the Roman unit) in two thousand pigs.

    The crowd should stay behind and push the victim over. Here the crowd plunges and the victim is saved .... The demons are cast in the image of a human group. they are the imago of that group because they are its imitatio .... As there is one voice that at the end speaks for the Gerasenes, so there is one voice at the beginning speaking for all the demons and these two voices actually say the same thing. . . . . . there is no difference between asking Jesus not to cast out the demons, when you are a demon, and asking him to leave the country when you are a Gerasene.

    The demons are the spirituality of the people. The townspeople cannot rejoice in their healing . It has proved to costly, and not only financially. Deprived of their scapegoat their violence has no safely valve. How will they now stop it erupting in the people? Further Jesus has sent the man back among his own kindred, 'clothed and in his right mind". We know from family systems therapy what a threat this can mean to a sick system, which must repossess it's former victim or find a new victim if it is not to explode.

    The townspeople remain remarkably calm, considering what has happened. They beg Jesus to depart from their neighbourhood, aborting any chance of coming to any insight about their own needs for healing. The Markan story is prophetic: Having lost the scapegoat who incarnated their hatred of The Legions, the region would literally be posessed, from 68 AD on when Vespasian headquartered a garrison there. History is itself mythic.

    [END QUOTE]

    Now you are wondering what all this has to do with people pulling down statues.

    Well take a whole section of society, label them sub human, enslave them and suppress them. eventually give them some freedom but not any sense of equality within society, suppress their history still and don't allow the truth of it to be taught in the nation's schools. Leave statues all over the place to remind them of how their ancestors were enslaved and maltreated by 'White Folks' and what have you got?

    You have a whole lot of angry repressed people who have only just in this generation been allowed to express that anger openly. They can't and most don't want to attack PEOPLE to get rid of that frustrated anger, so they pull down STATUES. It's safer all round to do that rather than starting a race war, killing people. Few of them actually want that.

    The mistake would be for some OTHER people, (seen as those who enslaved the black races), to pull all the stops out and self righteously DEFEND the statues of white slave traders and Military Leaders and images of 'whiteness as virtue', in a Civil War, which came to be seen as a Race War, which had millions of victims on both sides, so inflicted it's own stock of mental casualties and repressed revenge on both sides.

    So yep: Three options at dealing with statue toppling in the USA and elsewhere.

    I think the most sensible one would be to listen to the complaints and really start doing something about removing the cause of the complaints rather than further repressing the complainants and instead, fighting for the property rights of statues or their white owners or erectors right now.

    I could well imagine that If I were a Native American I would object to a statue of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer anywhere on my reservation and most Americans would probably dislike any kind of memorial raised to commemorate the deaths of the Twin Towers Terrorists or a statue of Abraham Lincoln's killer.

    Statue toppling is not a sane and rational way to express one's anger. There must be better ways of getting heard but there must be a limit also to everyone's patience when it comes to getting ALL people actually being held equal under God and the law. Surely that must be self evident.
     
    Botolph likes this.
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    The psychobabble in Winks' book sounds very similar to that which has been advanced to explain why God is a construct of the human mind, an invention to help man cope with the realities of hardship and death. Thus I am inclined to discount it.

    I feel that a large part of our national community has been manipulated into an enraged condition. The end goal of the behind-the-curtain manipulators is a weakening and eventual disintegration of the USA through division and strife, because the USA is the one nation that is most resistant to globalist control. To this end we see many different groups played against one another: the socialists and communists against the capitalists and libertarians, the atheists and agnostics against the Christians, the blacks against the whites, the hispanics against the blacks, the progressives against the conservatives, and on and on.

    At the root of the race issue, we can see Noah prophetically speaking (in Gen. 9) that friction would exist between the lineages of his 3 sons, Shem (father of the Semitic peoples and others), Ham (father of the African peoples and others) and Japheth (father of the Indo-European peoples and others). Although all peoples are fundamentally of one family (through Noah) and worthy of love and respect, through the curse prophetically spoken over Ham there has never yet been any escape from a certain amount of unfortunate division between the groups. Thus, to home in on the specific outcry of BLM, I think that no matter what amends, concessions, and overtures have been made (beginning in the 1860s but dramatically escalating since 1960) or could be made in the future, it will never fully assuage the feelings of Ham's descendants; the words of Noah and thousands of years of history run too deeply to be overcome, and friction will continue.
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    So the insights of a professor of theology, (which presumably you have not read), can be summarily dismissed as 'psychobabble' but the pure superstitious sectarian propaganda of the KKK may be swallowed whole without it catching in the throat?

    Truly a phenomenon in need of an explanation. Just about all of the USA 'community' is enthralled by demonic forces, including, perhaps even unwittingly being led and fed by some demonically inspired churches and church leaders, and this is not unique to the USA. It happens worldwide. Rev.2:24, 3:9. 2Cor.2:9-11.

    It is just that modern secular society, (including the churches) are completely unable now to delineate and identify the 'demons' that have 'possessed' it;
    Corporately (like the Gerasenes),
    Individually like the Gerasene demoniac,
    And factionally, like the Roman Legions.

    Our society has congratulated itself for having rid itself of demonic possession by having divested itself of a belief in demons. All it has really accomplished however is to rid itself of an earlier culture's characteristic expressions of the demonic. The demonic has in our time taken the form of mass psychosis.

    All at each other's throats for no other reason than that their demons drive them to distraction and destruction. And all precisely because they are so driven by their own obsessions that they are unconscious of how they are being malignly manipulated. And the more distracted and destructed they get, the more adamant they become in their prejudiced certainties.

    How else can a situation be explained, where such a President, with such a personality, and successive corrupt administations, can be applauded by so many supposedly sane and righteous people?

    It is the sublimal element that is the most dangerous aspect in all this. The fact that they are unconscious of what is going on.

    Angelus Silesius puts it well in The Cherubic Wanderer:

    Thou talk'st of Antichrist and beast, and dost not see
    (If thou be not in God), that they are both in thee.
    .
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    Where do you dig up these false comparisons? No one mentioned "sectarian propaganda of the KKK" until you did. The KKK is a fringe group, insignificant in numbers (if they still even exist today), and has been marginalized and considered abhorrent for decades.

    Not all "professors of theology" espouse sound theological concepts.

    No doubt demons are working to influence the thinking of people in the US and around the world. I would not dispute that. But I doubt this guy's pet theory that the Gerasene demoniac was possessed because of the "mimetic antagonism" relationship between the region's residents and its occupiers to mask "political unrest."
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    The people in the US who are most heavily influenced by demons are the Trump opposers. Over and over, I see reminders in this society that Trump opposers are Trump haters who for the most part are pro-choice, supportive of violence, desirous of self-enrichment at the expense of others, and opposers of Christianity. We know that hate is not of God. Nor is greed, nor envy of the rich. Absorbed self-interest at the expense of babies' lives is not of God, either. I see such people saying we should de-fund the police altogether, saying that cops should be shot, saying they wish Trump could be murdered, saying that Christians are bigots and fools, saying that whites are evil because they are white, and all sorts of ungodly nonsense. Trump haters are happy to loot, burn, tear down statues, block traffic, break windows, and call for an end to "foolish religion."

    I sincerely hope that no one on this forum is willing to join with them in hatred of Trump.

    In contrast, the Trump supporters mostly are pro-life, pro-prayer, pro-God, anti-socialist, anti-communist, anti-violence, and believe that each person should pull himself up by his own bootstraps rather than enriching himself through passage of laws that rob the rich. Trump supporters know that Trump is a boor and an uncouth egotist who doesn't know half as much as he thinks he knows, but these same supporters recognize the horrific alternative to supporting him. So they "dance with the one who brought them" and defend him out of necessity. When faced with this choice between stupidly bad and outright evil, any sane people (if are not demon-oppressed) will choose the stupidly bad.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    All ardent followers of 'leaders' who use their charisma and rhetoric to engender a 'party spirit' are tossed to and fro by dogma and are recruited by forces they are generally unaware of. Demonising one group while unquestioningly giving onself to another is simply pots calling kettles black. Gal.5:16-20.

    I don't hate Trump, just many of the things he has said and done and some of what he has not done and not said.

    No one is as completely bad as their enemies portray them but he is no saint or paragon of virtue. By his words and deeds he will be judged, like the rest of us. Hating some people's deeds gets a recommend from Jesus Christ. Revelation 2:6.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    338
    Country:
    UK
    Religion:
    CofE
    I did 'prophesy' that things were likely to get really bad in the USA over this covid thing, because of various particular national proclivities.

    It would seem that my prediction may yet be found to be correct. Not that in any way I wanted it to be. I guess that the prophets of old would have been similarly dismayed when their dire predictions of doom went unheeded by God's people who refused to believe them and change their ways.

    Along with Brazil, which seems to have similarly inept leadership regarding covis response and containment priorities, the USA is likely to experience a prolonged period in which no other countries are willing to receive air travellers from them.

    Rightly it is pointed out that hindsight is a worderful thing but there are many that cannot even learn from hindsight and do their very best to change or obscure history rather than learn from it, it sometimes seems to me.

    I take that to be just another 'end times' harbinger among the many 'signs' available to us.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    928
    Likes Received:
    497
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Christian
    I recently read a report that suggested the virus is losing its efficacy... it's mutating like nearly every virus has always done and is no longer as deadly.

    US covid cases are up, but so is testing. Naturally, more tests contribute to more cases being discovered. That's part of it.

    But I can't blame other countries for being cautious. The media has scared everyone half to death.

    I watched an hour-long video interview of a nurse who worked in NY's Elmhurst Hospital, 'ground zero' for Covid, during the peak. She served as a nurse in our army for many years, then retired from the army and was living & working in Florida. It was really slow at her hospital in Florida, so she volunteered to help where the need was great, in NYC. So they placed her in Elmhurst.

    The hospital's doctors were almost all 'residents' (young student doctors fresh out of med school). The nurses were having to show these docs how to do basic stuff, so you know they were inexperienced. She said people were coming in hyperventilating out of fear, but no other symptoms, and the resident docs were deciding based on their breathing problem that they had to be treated for Covid. They were putting patients who tested negative in the same room with patients who tested positive, filling them up with sedatives and muscle paralytics, and intubating them. She said she'd see a patient that was doing really well when she went off shift, then 12 hours later when she came back on shift that patient would be doped up and intubated. And the whole time she worked there, only one patient lived. Only one! That patient was a habitual drug user so the sedatives didn't keep him under, and he extubated himself... so he survived! This nurse recorded stuff in the hospital; you could hear her arguing and advocating for the benefit of patients, and being overruled by the docs or by other nurses who said they had orders from the hospital management. When she asked why they were all being filled with drugs and intubated, she was told, "money." It is a 'public' hospital in the inner city that was converted to "Covid only" so their only source of income was Covid treatment... and they got much more money ($29,000) for intubating a Covid patient than if they treated them by other means.

    https://youtu.be/UIDsKdeFOmQ

    This, plus the way they forced nursing homes to accept Covid patients, explains to me why the death numbers in NY and NJ were so ridiculously high. I have to caution everyone, the end of this video is so sad, you'll probably want to cry like I did.
     
    S. DeVault and Shane R like this.

Share This Page